Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in an Age of Info-glut

Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in an Age of Info-glut

by Kristin Luker
     
 

“You might think that dancing doesn’t have a lot to do with social research, and doing social research is probably why you picked this book up in the first place. But trust me. Salsa dancing is a practice as well as a metaphor for a kind of research that will make your life easier and better.”

Savvy, witty, and sensible, this unique book

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Overview

“You might think that dancing doesn’t have a lot to do with social research, and doing social research is probably why you picked this book up in the first place. But trust me. Salsa dancing is a practice as well as a metaphor for a kind of research that will make your life easier and better.”

Savvy, witty, and sensible, this unique book is both a handbook for defining and completing a research project, and an astute introduction to the neglected history and changeable philosophy of modern social science. In this volume, Kristin Luker guides novice researchers in:


  • knowing the difference between an area of interest and a research topic

  • defining the relevant parts of a potentially infinite research literature

  • mastering sampling, operationalization, and generalization

  • understanding which research methods best answer your questions

  • beating writer’s block

Most important, she shows how friendships, nonacademic interests, and even salsa dancing can make for a better researcher.

“You know about setting the kitchen timer and writing for only an hour, or only 15 minutes if you are feeling particularly anxious. I wrote a fairly large part of this book feeling exactly like that. If I can write an entire book 15 minutes at a time, so can you.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674031579
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
10/15/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

1 Salsa Dancing? In the Social Sciences? 1

2 What's It All About? 22

3 An Ode to Canonical Social Science 40

4 What Is This a Case of, Anyway? 51

5 Reviewing the Literature 76

6 On Sampling, Operationalization, and Generalization 99

7 Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty 129

8 Field (and Other) Methods 155

9 Historical-Comparative Methods 190

10 Data Reduction and Analysis 198

11 Living Your Life as a Salsa-Dancing Social Scientist 217

App. 1 What to Do If You Don't Have a Case 229

App. 2 Tools of the Trade 233

App. 3 Special Resources for Specific Methods 236

App. 4 Sample Search Log 242

Notes 243

Bibliography 285

Author's Note 311

Acknowledgments 312

Index 315

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